Friday, April 13, 2012

One Truth



I'd never disagree with this, even if my life depended on it. :-) (And, if the person being subjected to such a phenomena also has a categorical view on what is right/wrong, nothing on Earth can possibly save the people associated with him/her!). 


When I looked up Born on Wikipedia, I found something amusing and interesting. He is supposed to have contributed significantly to the field of quantum mechanics. Now, whether he was able to discover the secrets of quantum mechanics because he did not believe in one single truth or vice versa is something we may never find out. ;-)


A supplementary caveat to this quote may, arguably, be that it should not matter as long as people keep their beliefs to themselves and do not try to manipulate others (directly or indirectly) to tow their line. So, if, for example, I believed that there is no God but made no attempts to brainwash or ridicule others (who believed that there is a God), I should not be considered an evil entity in society. But does my belief remain within me, in reality?


Not necessarily. Even if I made no conscious effort to change the mental make-up of others, if my belief is strong enough, it is likely to be reflected in my actions (if not via words of advice) and that may in turn influence someone to suddenly become a skeptic (sticking to the example above). Am I an evil entity in such a situation? 


I think not. After all, my genuine and embedded thoughts will naturally emerge via my actions, choices, behavior etc. What others are influenced by because of their self-motivated observations and introspective conclusions cannot be attributed to me. (A charismatic and inward looking leader or author may easily influence hundreds of people without even intending to)


What is, however, a deciding factor in concluding whether I am potentially an evil entity or not is whether, in spite of my strong convictions, I have the attitude and the ability to be open to listening to people who have opposite views and consider their views sincerely. The key point here is to not be casually dismissive of opinions different from one's own. The need is to be mature enough to understand that a different view is a result of different and deeply embedded experiences, contexts, mental abilities and so forth. I may not be convinced by an opposite view, ultimately, because of being married to my own thoughts or because of being unable to relate to foreign examples or values of the other party. But that is fine as long as I continue to be ready to listen to the same or a variation of the view in future and untiringly reconsider my views, inspect it from unexplored angles and see it from various distances. (Unfortunately, it is also, apparently, important to retain one's sanity during such situations ;-). While the nicer lot have to focus on not losing their own sanity, the, er, rowdy lot will have to focus on not driving the other person up the wall). 

In certain cases, it may be slightly simpler and involve letting go of a situation (by avoiding the exploration of alternative views till a more conducive situation comes up in the future) because you clearly see that the other person may never understand your point of view and accept the simultaneous existence of two views because of not having gone through an essential experience (that you, however, went through). 

More food for thought: 

RT @freedomsway: "Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

***************************************

No idea where I went with this post. :-) Whew. Let me know if I drove you up the wall, but for reasons different from those mentioned above. ;-)

9 comments:

Jay said...

“Door se dekha to ande ubal rahe the. Pass ja kar dekha to ganje uchal rahe the.”

I must have been about 8 years old when i first heard this... and i found it so funny that i nearly doubled up in laughter. Well, to be honest, i never really understood the joke the first time ‘round. But i laughed my ass off nevertheless. I laughed myself silly because all the other kids had laughed, and i wanted to share in their mirth. What helped tickle my bone was the fact that the child who had cracked this joke looked funny telling it. A friend tried to help me understand the joke a few days later; i still didn’t find it funny, but laughed again because i believed that if something could make other people laugh, it indeed must be funny. And i didn’t want to be a killjoy.

Of course, the eighties in India, i have been given to believe, were very different from the fifties and the sixties. I was brought up on a dose of silly little riddles and jokes that date back to those innocent years, such as, “Jack n’ Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, God knows what they did up there, they came back with a daughter,” and “half a circle, full a circle, half a circle, A; half a circle, full a circle, right angle, A; tell me what am I?” or the entire load of knock-knock jokes, why did the chicken cross the road, how do you eat an elephant, mad comic jokes, and the like. To most Indian children these jokes made no sense, and i always took it in my stride... the jokes were after all from a different era, and it was way outside the children’s experience. I, however, learnt to like the hindi jokes that my friends cracked and then myself picked up quite a few of them to dish out to my pals, too.

While i always shared a hearty laugh with my friends when they cracked hindi jokes – like the one at the start of this comment, i did not laugh because i wanted to be accepted as part of a group, but because i took the lesson that my folks had taught me at home, quite literally. The lesson was – there is no single way of looking at things, everyone has their point of view – learn to understand others and accept them for who they are, unless of course, it infringes on your principles; and always, always, always, share in other people’s happiness and sadness. This, along with the variety of different cultures, lifestyles, beliefs and religions i was exposed to all across the country, and the tomes of books i would read (incl the amar chitra kathas and the chacha chaudharys) made me a very adaptable person, and helped me adjust to all sorts of people, situations and ideas wherever i traveled. And my life can vouch for that.

Jay said...

Nonetheless, it may have been the 6th or 7th time that i had heard the ‘...ganje uchal rahe the” joke at the age of 8, when, the killjoy that i tend to become, one night, before going to sleep, i started thinking:

“Let A be standing 400 yards from the bald men. And let B be standing 2 feet from them. Then, while A perceives boiling eggs, B would perceive bald men jumping up and down. Now, which one of them is correct? And which of them is wrong? I find that both are correct and both could be wrong. Here’s how: given their unique vantage points, eyesight, and taking into consideration the wind, the heat, and whether both A & B had had a good night’s sleep, and the different contexts within which they both made their observation, they are both undeniably correct, for they perceived the situation from their very own unique perspectives. They both, however, could be wrong, if neither of them acknowledges the other’s reality, discounting it and brushing it aside as if it never really existed. Both realities exist simultaneously, and to prove it, all A & B need to do is switch places. Of course, their prior experience may colour their judgement now, but they’ll get the general drift. Therefore, instead of merely being only funny (which it is), the statement “door se dekha to ande ubal rahe the, paas jaake dekha to ganje uchal rahe the,” teaches me that no two human beings can be expected to perceive exactly the same in perpetuity.”
Let me digress a little bit at this point. The wise King Solomon was once asked to adjudicate a matter of utmost concern. Two mothers had come bawling to him, demanding justice. Seeing that both mothers claimed a child to be their own, and realizing that he didn’t have any DNA tests at his disposal, Solomon, the wise King that he was, ordered the child be torn apart into two equal pieces and handed over to each mother. Lo and behold! The real mother was found, because she couldn’t bear to accept that her beloved child would be killed for the sake of satisfying both women. In fact, while both women may have perceived the child as their own, due to their unique experiences, contexts, motives, mental abilities and so on and so forth, it was only the real mother who could not bear to see the ‘one and only truth’ killed just to satisfy two differently perceived realities. In fact, the real mother, to preserve the truth, made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up her claim to the child. Thus, King Solomon, found the true mother. And the rest, as everybody knows, is history.

Jay said...

Let’s take an example from the real world. If an employee indulges in industrial espionage, because from his perspective, he believes that it is not wrong; and if his organization catches him red handed, should the organization take action on the employee as per their rules and regulations, or accept that there can never be only one truth; and since the truth changes with deeply embedded experiences, contexts, mental abilities and so forth, the employee must be exonerated?

How about another one? If a citizen of a country, goes on a murdering spree with the objective of stealing people’s money, should the judiciary punish him for his crimes as per certain laid down principles, or should the judiciary exonerate the murderer because reality changes with perceptions, experiences and contexts?

The answer to both these questions, as far as i see it, is very simple. Yes, the organization and the judiciary should punish the erring employee and the murderer, because while the employee and the murderer have a right to their unique realities, they cannot impinge on the rights of other people’s realities. However, here’s the predicament: wouldn’t the organization and the judiciary be impinging on the employee and the murderer’s reality by punishing them? Whose reality must we accept to set the basic framework within which society should exist? Or should human beings argue that since reality changes with different experiences, contexts, mental abilities and so forth, that we must never have a few agreed principles – which by their nature of being agreed to, would be the one truth?

Just imagine how funny it is to see a bunch of bald men jumping up and down for no reason at all. Equally intriguing is the dance of a batch of eggs in boiling water. Reality is funny business, and yes, reality changes with experiences, contexts, mental abilities and so forth. I accept that claim. But i will not accept a caboodle of chaps from the business world who summarily dismiss every other point of view but their own, without logic holding their argument together. Other realities, you must see - EXIST, and i will continue airing them on my blog. Let multiple realities be my witness :)

As far as Jiddu Krishnamurti is concerned; I admire the man too much to pass a comment on him.

Nimmy said...

I was looking forward to your views on this. You don't fail to bring up valid points and examples...as expected. :-)

(I did think about an example like a murderer and 'his reality' whilst writing the post...and, obviously, I realized that that was something a society will never accept....unless he is proven to be mentally retarded and therefore goes unpunished).

I think you said it really well here:

Yes, the organization and the judiciary should punish the erring employee and the murderer, because while the employee and the murderer have a right to their unique realities, **they cannot impinge on the rights of other people’s realities**. However, here’s the predicament: wouldn’t the organization and the judiciary be impinging on the employee and the murderer’s reality by punishing them? Whose reality must we accept to set the basic framework within which society should exist? *Or should human beings argue that since reality changes with different experiences, contexts, mental abilities and so forth, that we must never have a few agreed principles – which by their nature of being agreed to, would be the one truth?*

Amen!

PS: Oh, and, btw, that joke at the start is new to me....definitely made me chuckle. :-)

Stranger in a Strange Land said...

This lead to fanatism and is a side effect of ego.

You didn't lead me into any walls with this one.

Take care,
Mike

Nimmy said...

Thanks for the feedback, Mike :-) Happy weekend!!

Stranger in a Strange Land said...

Hello Again Nimmy,

Now it is Monday and I did have a lovely weekend.

Thanks,
Mikeps: I trust that you had a nice weekend also.

Rakesh Poddar said...

"The need is to be mature enough to understand that a different view is a result of different and deeply embedded experiences, contexts, mental abilities and so forth."

Well said, Nimmy, as always.

Halivirkar said...

This is interesting, not agreeing to a concept like as good exists, and even making attempts to prove otherwise, even that may not make someone an evil entity(you may become the enlightened on), because good and evil are relative entities which are understood due to the absence of the other, so if we were to assume that no good was was present ever, then evil may not be evil in that situation, coming back to the point, we would never know the depths of good and evil as long as killing someone is evil yet we go for wars and went for ritual sacrifices and well we humans do like to place order to chaos, thus it may not matter what we do or not do, we would still be or not be considered an evil entity